KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol remembers May 22, 2003, very well.
That's the day Trooper Michael L. Newton was killed during a traffic stop along Interstate 70.
“Losing Mike, it’s losing your best friend," Brooks McGinnis, a master sergeant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said.
Now, troopers from Kansas and Missouri team up each holiday season for a toy drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City and area hospitals.
“We do all we can to bring joy and cheer and whimsy and goodness to the season when families are here," RMHC-KC CEO Tami Greenberg said.
Families like Kadee Covert's and Zach Jameson's.
Their daughter, Addie, was born in June and has endured 12 surgeries in her first six months, because of tracheal esophageal fistula and esophageal atresia.
“Her esophagus isn't attached to her stomach, but her trachea was by a little tunnel," Covert said.
The three have spent almost five months in the hospital already, so being able to receive a Christmas present courtesy of the troopers or other donations is priceless.
"It just warms my heart," Jameson said. "It really does. I mean, I can't imagine a better cause than this place."
It's all about remembering those in need and those who've made the ultimate sacrifice during the holidays.
"What it means to us is they remember," Greenberg said. "They remember Mike Newton, and they remember the families with sick kids who are here at Ronald McDonald house over the holidays."
Newton had a wife and two young sons when he died.
McGinnis believes it would bring him joy to see the impact this toy drive makes each year.
“I think he would love it," McGinnis said. "Mike’s actually got two grandkids now, a little boy and a little girl, and there’s no doubt in my mind he would just be ecstatic."
Download the attached flier for a list of drop-off locations: